Women's Lacrosse

McCarthy Provides Veteran Leadership

April 9, 2007

She's been the mainstay in net for the Minutewomen all season. In her fifth year as a member of the Massachusetts women's lacrosse team, goalie Lauren McCarthy has established herself as one of the leaders of the UMass defense.

Even though UMass suffered losses to Atlantic 10 rivals Temple and George Washington, senior Lauren McCarthy played exceptionally well in net. Not only did she make saves, the Derry, N.H. native made defensive plays outside of the crease.

"She's been keeping us in the game to win and that's all you ask for from a goalie," UMass coach Alexis Venechanos said. "She's making some good, timely saves and the defense definitely feeds off her momentum."

After the Minutewomen lost their offensive rhythm in the latter part of the first half and the second, the senior made several crucial saves to keep the score close.

None was more impressive than her performance from close range during the first few minutes of the second half. Passing the ball around the cage, a GW player cut toward the net and fielded a pass in front of McCarthy. The goalie blocked the shot with her stick and managed to control the rebound.

A Colonial midfielder regained possession in the neutral zone and put her team back on offense. McCarthy made a save on a shot from near the 12-meter line, but could not control the rebound.

Another GW player collected the ball and attempted to score from a difficult angle. McCarthy made the save from a close distance and corralled the shot in her stick.

McCarthy's teammates, clearly energized from the series of saves, parlayed the possession into a goal several minutes later. At that point, UMass established a 7-6 lead, but surrendered two goals in the next five minutes.

When it was clear that her teammates were struggling to establish an offensive rhythm, McCarthy made aggressive plays to stifle the GW attack. The goalie ventured out of the crease on several possessions to force turnovers and to prevent the Colonials from getting quality scoring chances.

She forced two turnovers using this strategy and did not allow an open-net goal. McCarthy also fielded seven groundballs in the contest, a career high. Although she played a complete defensive game, her frantic play during the final minutes was not enough to lift her teammates to victory.

However, the UMass defense made the situation difficult for McCarthy in certain situations. The team committed a total of 18 fouls, several of which resulted in free position shots for GW players.

This type of opportunity is awarded to the offense when the other team commits a major or minor foul. Play is stopped and every player must move at least four meters away from the location of the foul.

The offensive player then has an excellent opportunity to shoot unobstructed or find an open player because of the open space. Free position shots typically result in goals within close proximity to the net.

George Washington scored its fifth goal off a free position shot within the 12-meter line in the offensive zone. The Colonials had another free position opportunity earlier in the game, but McCarthy made a jumping save to prevent a goal.

Before this weekend's game, McCarthy ranked third among A-10 goalies with a 9.74 goals-against average. She also is fourth in save percentage, averaging saves on nearly 47 percent of the shots she faces.

In half of the 12 games she's played, McCarthy has allowed nine goals or less. She's also played every minute of each game except the team's victory over Harvard and loss to Northwestern earlier in the season.

Michael King can be reached at mking@student.umass.edu.




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